Wednesday, December 26, 2012

D11: The Senseless and Expensive

What up, y'all...hope you had a good Christmas.

Anyway, I'm gonna start referring to District 11 as a long-running soap opera...ala "The Young and the Restless" or "The Bold and the Beautiful" -- I'm going to call it "The Senseless and Expensive".  So, just fyi.

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Day After Christmas School Closure Rant

in response to this Gazette story about Wasson

Wasson has everything, right in the very heart of our town; so lets ignore the assets working in its favor..such as *drumroll* THE FOOTBALL STADIUM, though really, it should be as plain as the nose on our faces. Honestly, I thought this city was crammed full of football loving fans: WHY ARE THE VOICES OF FOOTBALL FANS SO QUIET -- OR DOES FANTASY FOOTBALL HAVE YOU ALL SO DISTRACTED THAT YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY?

I guess kids growing up in central Colorado Springs have no need for a stadium where they can practice mundane sports or march in the band, etc; ditto with using Berry stadium for events of such minor, for instance...HIGH SCHOOL COMMENCEMENT. When District 11's Class of '85 graduated, it went down at Berry stadium...outside under the summer sun and sky, and we all tossed up our caps in jubilat...ion; that was definitely way back in the day...because when my son graduated in 2010, the District rented out part of the World Arena instead, and tossing one's cap was verboten -- yeah, baby: ain't no party like a World Arena graduation party.

Our kids...graduating inside a big gray circle, while Berry stadium sits idle; yep, I'd call that under-utilization for sure -- just one example of many. No wonder the District has trouble balancing its ever-growing budget, no wonder they constantly experience money woes: despite all that fancy book-learnin', the District powers-that-be just can't seem to spend within their means, or wisely spend the vast stores of cash they already have on hand. But spend it, they do.

How much is the District claiming they will save by shutting down these schools? In 2009, they claimed they would save $3 Million: they shut down EIGHT schools to save $3 Million, friends -- a pittance that was gobbled up in an instant by the senseless and expensive West K-8 building retrofit...and ALL of it, to the detriment of the surrounding neighborhoods, I don't care how the District sugar-coats the re-utilization of those buildings.

How much, I wonder, has the District spent settling with the families impacted by Mann Middle School Safety Resource Officer Joshua Carrier? Rather than shutting down schools, maybe if our public schools had a return to common sense, kids would once again respect their teachers, schools, parents and selves...there'd be no need for School Safety Resource Officers, who could be re-purposed as Scout Masters...and just think of the oodles of hush money saved!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Robin Report

I wasn't able to keep up with twittering about Robin, because we kept running out of internet money.  ANYHOW, the long and the short of it is, Robin succeeded in getting *US* to move out when our lease was not renewed...and I think that's BALDERDASH.  During the week of our move, Robin menaced my 7 year-old daughter with a hammer...A HAMMER, FOLKS, is it normal for a 64 year old woman to brandish a hammer at a child?  NO, IT'S NOT, AND YET THIS WOMAN IS PERMITTED TO GET AWAY WITH IT AGAIN AND AGAIN.  BALDERDASH, I SAY!

Originally posted October 1, 2012

I am announcing an upcoming feature I’ll be adding to Spydra’s Web called “The Robin Report.” 

You may ask, “What is the ‘Robin Report?’” The question is not merely ‘what’ but rather, EVERY ‘w’ question, that is, ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’, and ‘how’.

Who: The twice-divorced, certifiable lunatic they call Robin Morrison Streseman Owens. Robin claims to be 62 years old (though appears several centuries older), and has been my upstairs neighbor for the past three years.

What: A cacophonous campaign of crazy, waged by Queen Cuckoo herself.

Where: Directly overhead in my apartment in the Audubon area.

When: Throughout the day, every day, since April Fools Day 2012.

Why:  The war Robin continues to wage against our family is apparently her psychotic way of seeking some sort of revenge. 

During year one, Robin and I smiled and said "hello" to each other in passing, but I didn't know her.

During year two, whilst gazing at an angel-shaped cloud in the sky, Robin tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and broke her right wrist.  Having seen me with computer and camera in hand on more than one occasion, she thought to ask me to photograph the sidewalk crack. She was so incapacitated and old-looking, and I was moved by her piteous "I'm old and all alone; I don't have any friends and my family doesn't care" stories. We both claimed to be Christians...and the Christian in me told me to offer this little old lady my help; indeed, Robin would be a good deed for the day.  So I offered, and she accepted, and we quickly became friends.

I did everything for Robin, including accompanying her to the hospital for her wrist surgery, opening cans of dog food, taking out her trash (even her adorable dog's "wee-wee pads"), helping her brush her hair (ewwww)...this, that and the other. When the digital went out on her television, I got her a different converter box; when her landline phone proved too heavy and unmanageable, I got her a lightweight cordless; when her vacuum cleaner went on the fritz, I gave her an extra of mine. We went grocery shopping together, and my kids helped bring her bags upstairs. We gave each other a smoke or a couple of Advil or a cup of sugar or a pep talk if we needed it, and on at least two occasions she just handed us $10 or $20, explaining that she wanted to bless us with it.  I really grew to care for her, and thought that we were friends.

Then came a time when Robin's meds changed; her doctor took her off of some, and she took herself off of others, and her behavior began to change. Robin always had vivid dreams when she slept; then suddenly she seemed to stop sleeping altogether.  In the middle of her insomniac nights, she removed all of the carpet from her apartment.  She started coming down three, four, five times a day to bum a smoke, talking and laughing loudly, dressed eccentrically, her makeup looking like it was applied with a trowel by Mimi Bobeck. She claimed that the doctor told her she was dying...and that one night, as she contemplated making contact with her long-estranged Mormon family members in Arizona, the Holy Spirit grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed her into a wall.  I grew concerned. Robin joined the “Biker Church” and took to dancing about whilst singing hymns and clapping hands. She took to calling me "Spidey". I grew annoyed.

I began to dread the knock at the door, and started to pretend I wasn't home...but sometimes she would catch me...  She came down one afternoon to bum the day's third cigarette ("I'm going to quit smoking when my nicotine patches arrive) and started crowing about the big stack of beautiful dresses she'd just moments before given away to the Muslim woman who used to live next door. I was outraged.  She knew I was looking for a job...and I would have paid Robin a fair price for the dresses; the scowling woman to whom she gave the dresses never wore any of them -- no, not even once -- but then again, who could tell, considering she was always covered from head to foot and no one could see the dresses anyway...

Angry and hurt, I shut it down...telling my family to say I was busy or whatever -- no more cigarettes for the crazy lady.

She knocked one Saturday morning, and I mouthed to my husband, “Tell her I’m not here.” He answered the door, and she told him, "I came across a spider sweater for Spydra...but I need the money I spent for it." Well, everyone who knows me knows that I collect spider and spiderweb whatnot...and my husband saw the sweater and knew right away that I'd like it.  When he told me about it, I was tempted to shine it on and not speak with her about it (o cruel and crystal clear hindsight!)...but my husband told me, "Maybe this is her way of apologizing about the dresses."  So when she called to me "Spidey! Oh Spidey," from her upstairs window, I went up; and when she showed me the sweater with its spiderweb design encrusted with semi-precious stones, I caught my breath.

God told me 'don't tell her you love it'.  "I love it," I said admiringly.  "How much was it?"

She answered "$38."

"Wow! $38!!!” I was shocked at the figure she quoted for a winter sweater in springtime…but we'd just gotten our tax refund, so I had the money. “It is very beautiful," I mused, "Where did you get it?"

"At a boutique in Manitou.," came her reply.  That explained the price.

"Oh, did you go to Manitou today? It sure was lovely weather for it," I said, a bit absently, all spider goo-goo eyed.

Came her reply:  "Oh, no -- I got the sweater for $38 at a boutique in Manitou five years ago; but I still like it, and I would still wear it if you didn't want it...and since you do want it, I need the money I spent for it."

I turned to her and blinked. "You mean you didn't just buy this sweater for me?"

"No," said she, "but my car is on empty and I have to get to church."

I found myself suddenly fed up. "I'm sorry, but not today."

"Wait! At least make me an offer!" she said after me as I started back down the stairs.

"I'm sorry, Robin, I don't have any cash."

And that was that. Or so I thought. Because the next day, Sunday morning, that wrinkled-up old bat stood at the top of the stairs shouting and badmouthing me at 8:00 a.m. Embarrassed and furious, I confronted her and told her I was not about to be bullied into handing her $38; she continued her verbal assault on me, claiming to smell smells that were making her sick and threatening to call the police...threatening to call DHS (now, dem's fightin' words); but I told her, "Robin, I once called you friend, but I'll never call you friend again -- so do what you're going to do, bitch, I really don't care."

So she called the police; they came; we spoke; the police told us both to ignore and avoid each other.

And as far as I can figure, that's the "Why" -- because I wouldn't buy her mothballed spider sweater.

How: Robin never sleeps, and so has time to pester us in manifold crazy and creative ways.

• Robin adopted two of the yappiest ankle-biters to ever have walked the face of the earth; in short order, one of them impregnated her adorable purebred Maltese – the puppies are due sometime this month (awwww….) . Allow me to say this: I have been surrounded by terrible dog owners for the past six months; each one has impressed upon me how far superior cats are to dogs. No matter how an owner may coax or coddle a cat, it will never bark (hysterically, all-day-long, or otherwise); a cat will not leave gigantic turds all over everywhere; a cat will never attack someone else on command – else I’d have long ago adopted four attack cats, one for each of the dogs who live above me.

• Robin removed the carpet from her apartment, the effect being that we can hear every step she takes. I am guessing that she has marked the places on the floor where it creaks, because she will go straight there and rock back and forth for up to an hour at a time.

• Robin eavesdrops on us all day long; we can practically hear her breathing – and she us. Every sound is amplified and awful.

• Robin drops what sounds like a bowling ball on the floor and lets it roll about.

• Robin goes to the bathroom A LOT, and each time she does, she SLAMS the commode lid as hard as possible. • Robin also drops assorted things: from the sounds of things, she will drop tools onto the floor from a height, she also likes to drop assorted things in the tub, making an incredible racket.

• Robin taps repeatedly on the metal vents throughout the apartment.

• Robin does the Riverdance whenever we have company.

• Robin vacuums like a demon possessed, for a very long time, at any given hour…torturing us with the very vacuum cleaner I gave to her.

• In front of our children, Robin hissed at me that she’d recently found her rifle, and that I’d better hope she didn’t shoot me through the floor…and when we complained to the office AGAIN about her behavior, Robin walked past my door threatening to “kick my ass, bitch.”

• Robin walks about the apartment complex, yakking to each and every neighbor unlucky enough to be in her path…and if I happen to come outside, she quickly resorts to the simpleton’s Ol’ Faithful: “Stay away from that nigger, she’s bad news.” I learned this from a neighbor who just two weeks ago moved to the complex. Robin has gone so far as to claim I struck her in the back of the head with half of a watermelon (as niggers are often wont to do).

• Robin scowls and makes scary faces at my kids, having the nerve to complain about the noise THEY make!

• Robin plays her Christian music so loudly, the floors throb and bounce…and when the Holy Ghost fills her, she begins to shout YAY YAY YAY YAY!!! and her dogs go nuts – ya know, I didn’t ever know that dogs were capable of even making such sounds! By itself, the music is enough to give me a terrible headache; when combined with the incredible sounds her dogs make, it’s enough to make me…make me…well, make me start up a Robin Report.

Robin has two faces, and you never see them at the same time. She has many tenants at my apartment complex fooled into thinking I am some kind of menancing black bully, and that she a nice little fragile old lady, but we have taken pains to avoid her at all costs...and she is the farthest thing from nice, little, fragile and lady -- what she is she?  EVIL INCARNATE, AND OLDER THAN TIME.

It’s very plain that Robin’s has too much time on her hands, and is seriously mentally ill; since I know she takes Seroquel, I’m gonna guess that schizophrenia is what’s the matter with her brain. I left a note for her doctor, but never expected to hear back from him due to patient confidentiality rules.

The police won’t even come out anymore, really; they all know she’s batty and claim that’s why they won’t issue her a citation; they already knows she batty, and won’t issue her a citation because she’d be acquitted – innocent by reason of permanent insanity; won’t issue a citation because they fear is would exacerbate matters; they won’t come unless she pays $400 for all of her false alarms.

No one seems willing or able to do anything about it, and it looks more and more like we are going to be moving again…SOON.  The strain of living beneath her noisy non-stop nonsense has had such a terrible, depressing effect on me. Sometimes, I’ll get angry, and decide, “Well, I’ll be damned if I move anywhere on account of that silly bitch!” At other times, I become quiet and grow despondent, feeling hapless, helpless and hopeless. 

No good deed goes unpunished, and I kick and hate myself for having missed her now-obvious insanity and for letting her into our world.  Robin loves to gossip about and malign me, and will shout from the rooftops what a sinner I am; but she needs to stop fooling herself; pious, high and mighty though she may consider herself, Robin is a sick, twisted, evil troll of a woman, and all sinners can look forward to bumping shoulders with her in Hell. 

Because a diary is considered evidence in a court of law, I’ve decided to run a Twitter-like tickertape devoted to Robin, a real-time report that I’ll update whenever she starts pulling her lunatic shit. There you have it. And here it is.

Thanks for letting me vent. Love ya.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Inflating dough

(originally published September 28, 2009)

You know, I always liked those classes where the teacher would put into place a real-world scenario for students to learn and apply know, like Lemonade Stand. Real world application can be both fun and educational.

I was not as successful when in Economics we pretended to buy guns and butter, or in American History when Mr. Bakun had us pretend to buy stocks and bonds -- I remember failing both exercises. But that was just me -- I'm simply awful at mathematics. My son recently told me that when he participated in the stocks and bonds exercise, he topped his class and earned $100,000.

That's m'boy.

I've no doubt that many students have participated in similar exercises for study as an example of practical application. Perhaps it was such a study that our School District #11 accounting wizards took part during their school days...I surmise this, because teachers often come up with funny names for the "store": Betty's Better Butter (BBB), or Stick-Em-Up Armory.

This is the kind of nerd that I am -- I think about things, and then think some more. There is a pizza company named "Inflated Dough", and my busybody mind was inspired to look up "the study of Pizza Science." I've always merely eaten pizza, so I was pretty impressed by what my research returned.

Pizza is a subject of study -- in physics (i.e., when the pizza maker tosses up the spinning dough), in chemistry (in testing baking optimization and fermentation), in "management science" (sounds like fancy talk), in economics, and in accounting.

Did you know, for instance, that in laboratory tests, "the W factor is the measure of the amount of force that it takes to inflate a bubble of dough before it ruptures." Indeed, pizza dough actually should not inflate at all; it must be "docked", or pricked with a fork -- precisely to prevent it from rising.

Which leads me to believe that in Jan Tanner's case, she likely studied the pizza business as part of an accounting course; I know, I'm speculating here, but perhaps one of her teachers taught a class entitled "Real World Accounting" -- the students pretended to open up a business, and name their company, and then manage the general ledger for that fictional establishment. Perhaps such an exercise was what inspired her to make a career out of accounting, and further, handle the accounting for her family's pizza business.

Enough speculating: the fact is that Carl Tanner -- who has been married to Jan for a quarter of a century -- owns two Domino's pizza franchises, named Cheezar's and Inflated Dough. In light of the background information I provided above, perhaps the "W factor" in this instance stands for wink -- since the clever name for this enterprise probably refers more to money than to product.

Indeed it is aptly named: Jan, who lists herself as the secretary/treasurer of the franchises, certainly must be aware that an income of approximately $160,000 was received courtesy of Colorado Springs School District #11 over the 2008-2009 school year alone. That year is the only one the District has published online (AP Payments FY 08-09)...but I've little doubt that a review of previous years' account registers would reveal similar similar such income -- after all, Jan was specially appointed treasurer to the District Board of Educators in 2005 (more on that in an upcoming post). Has this arrangement been in place for all that time? If so...does this mean that the family business for which Jan Tanner is the registered treasurer received half a million dollars from the District over the past five years?!?

From what I understand, questions have been raised about the pizza before -- and Jan answered that her husband's enterprise had kindly "donated" pizza to the schools. Which leads me to believe that as treasurer for the "family business", Jan has been writing off these pizza donations as tax deductibles (dip). But then, Jan also would have known that District #11 certainly paid for these pizzas as well (double dip); and from what my kids have explained, it's also possible that students have additionally paid in cash for this pizza at a lunchroom kiosk (triple dip). Who knows -- maybe there's even free- and reduced-lunch monies coming into the coffers somehow (quadruple dip)...

In order for this all to have been on the up and up, Board policy mandates full disclosure -- meaning that Jan would have had to raise the issue, the Board would have had to make it an action item and voted upon it, and the entire matter would have had to been reflected in official meeting minutes. Anything short of this constitutes a conflict of interest, and a serious breach of ethics.

But I haven't been able to locate anything of the like. Which leads me to ponder: Did Jan make full disclosure, and if so, why can't it be found in meeting minutes? Are there other Board members who are aware of the details of this arrangement, and if so, who are they...and why have they allowed such an important detail to go unnoticed?

This is what I know beyond the shadow of a doubt: Glenn Gustafson (District 11 Chief Financial Officer) and John Elliott (recently retired from his post as Manager of Procurement and Contracting) would have known most definitely about this arrangement -- an indication of their complicit involvement.

Personally, I was staggered when I made the Cheezar's connection and began to ruminate upon the implications. What does this all mean? Could it be that the people we have entrusted with the education of our children have conspired to siphon off public funds for their own private gain?

I believe this is simply the tip of an ugly iceberg. But if the conclusions I've reached regarding Jan are true...then at least one of the elementary schools that were recently closed due to budget constraints could have remained open if Jan had "donated" this revenue back to the District.

I am so very bad at math -- and much more likely to crunch on pizzas than numbers -- but even I have to say, "Mama Mia, that's a lotta pizza."

Thursday, December 6, 2012


(Originally published October 29, 2010)

Me and my occasionally-swollen head, I have a tendency to think that the people who visit my blog have been doing so since its inception, and have read my every word. But let's face it; I have a tendency to write A LOT, and there are probably very few of you who've read it all.

I was recently accused of "hating Jan Tanner" and really, nothing could be further from the truth. I'm actually quite grateful for her, and I like to think that she IS one of the few who HAS read it all...since she is the subject of so much of it.  For those of you who are unaware...Jan IS the reason I started this in a way, she gave birth to Spydra -- wow, did I just call Jan Tanner my mom?

Anyway, when District 11 closed down eight elementary schools, I was a little upset, because one of them happened to be right across the street from my house. And I felt like something sneaky was afoot. So, I started hunting...and guess what? THERE WAS SOMETHING SNEAKY AFOOT, and it had EVERYTHING to do with JAN TANNER.

To recap, I found out that Jan had a very lucrative contract in place to provide lunchroom pizza for School District 11; this contract had been in place since 1999 -- well before her special appointment to D11's Board of Directors in 2004. The contract is still in place, and has earned her more than $1 million over the past decade.

I made her a deal: if she either came clean about the contract...OR...if she gave me 10% of the money I discovered she earned off of the District (and the taxpayers) in the 2009-2010 school year, I'd stop writing about her. She earned $160, all I wanted was $16,000. She never came clean about it, NOR did she give me my money, and so, I continue to write about her to this day.

It wasn't extortion, because I asked her in public (just like her disclosure about her contract was supposed to be); it was more like a finder's fee I was really seeking. Since then, however, I've had an opportunity to think a bit deeper on the amount of money I requested. I guess real estate agents only earn like what...a 5% commission? I dunno. So, since I just happened to stumble across her Inflated Dough and Cheezer's contracts, perhaps I was asking a bit much.

So, I'm willing to reduce the amount to ONE PERCENT. That's $1,600. And considering how ABSOLUTELY RICH JAN TANNER IS, that's REALLY chump change, my friends, it really, really is!!!

I know that if I were in her place, I'd fork over either amount, especially considering that SHE KNEW SHE WAS PLANNING ON RUNNING FOR OFFICE; I mean, I PROMISED TO NEVER WRITE ABOUT HER AGAIN...and I would have let that whole ASS thing go with 'nary a word.

But purely from a humanitarian standpoint: Jan knows that MY FAMILY JUST LOST EVERYTHING WE OWNED. Spydra is SO BROKE y'all...SO BROKE.

HOW BROKE ARE WE? Well, let's put it this way: I don't have enough money to buy a pumpkin to make a Jack-o-lantern. And like Mother Hubbard, our cupboards are BARE...and our foodstamps don't come for another week...and my son is coming home from college to visit this weekend. WE DON'T EVEN HAVE ANY CANDY TO GIVE AWAY!! IT'S PATHETIC!

So if Jan was cool, or if she was kind, or if she had any sense whatsoever, she'd have at least made a token effort. SHE'D HAVE AT LEAST ALLOWED ME TO HELP HER PICK OUT HER CLOTHES!

But even though she's a skinflint, I like her anyway, because a lot of times, she makes it SO EASY...I end up forgetting that I'm hungry.

Here, then, is a re-run from January -- a letter I wrote to Santa -- to help some of you last-minute "deciders" make up your minds about some of the people who are running for office this election. If Jan Tanner wins, well...I just don't know WHAT I'll do without her on the D11 Board.  VOTE LARRY LISTON. 


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Dear Santa,

Seasons Greetings! How are you? I hope life is treating you well at the North Pole, and that you’re feeling jolly. I’m jolly-ish and doing well. Thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful presents you brought us this Christmas, and the comfortable time spent amongst family and friends.

I do wonder though, Santa: is your crystal ball thing still working properly, or did it also go digital? This is somewhat off topic, but I much preferred the ssshhhhh static to the weird skip-skip-skipping of the digital "upgrade.” And what’s up with the time delay between the same analog and digital broadcast…with digital lagging as much as ten seconds behind the analog? Santa, do look further into this, if you would, it could explain why you might have missed or overlooked some things this year.

Santa, I don’t like to toot my own horn, but last year I was exceptionally good - for goodness’ sake alone – trying always to be thoughtful and unselfish. I did not skim, conceal or lie about my day-to-day doings. Nevertheless, I have noticed there are some bad boys and girls who for a long time have and continue to be extra bad – and it seems you continue to reward them. Forgive me if I’m too forward, Santa, but aren’t they supposed to receive lumps of coal? And if the haughty naughty receive niceties, oughtn’t the nice receive even nicer ones?

I don’t mean to complain, Santa; just trying to make some sense of it all. Whether it was something I wanted, badly needed, felt sure I’d merited, or simply wished in a whimsical instant, you didn’t bring them, though they were all well within reason, and most, absolutely free and of benefit to more than just myself. Hence, I'm writing this letter now and sending it to you early, in the hope that we’ll be more on the same page, same time next year.

I have questions, Santa…ones I’ve asked for nigh a year, yet remain unanswered. Because I suspect your crystal ball thing is malfunctioning, I don’t really expect the answers to come from you; rather, I hope that as you read through this letter, you might begin asking these questions yourself.

Why was DPMD, LLC dissolved three days after I established this blog?

In case you’ve forgotten, DPMD, LLC provided pizza to District 11 since 2002. This partnership – involving Carl Tanner, Mark Tanner, and Tony Mand, the self-titled “King of Pizza” who’s managed by some miracle to pull himself from the jaws of bankruptcy three (3) times. was hastily dissolved within three days of my inaugural post. Why, Santa?

Why did Cheezer’s and Inflated Dough receive weekly payments from the district?
State law requires all districts to post their registers online, and right now, that would include July - December 2008, January – June 2009, and July - December 2009. This version of the District check register contains all of the data from July 2008 through June 2009; the account numbers are explained in excellent detail here. I noticed the links for the registry have been removed from the District’s Financial Transparency page; I trust, however, it will soon be made available; I’ll check back regularly and alert you when it is.

I’m actually ok with the one register I do have; after all, too many numbers could cause me to suffer some sort of attack. Aware of that risk, I evenso continue to while away countless hours…sorting the data this way and filtering it that; indeed, the register remains a constant object of my rapt fascination. And to think Glenn Gustafson wondered if anyone would even bother to look for this information, much less understand it.

Who is Sanford E. “Pete” Lee?

Colorado State Senate-hopeful Pete Lee has been a somewhat nebulous entity for quite some time. Like Jan, his benign background hardly seems to warrant the mounds of credit he’s given. This long time member of the District Advisability and Accountability Committee (DAAC),  didn't even live within District boundaries until very recently. 

As best I can tell, he's an attorney with an expertise in small business incorporation, and has helped draft some legislation at the state level. When Lee was the registered agent for Inflated Dough, his address was listed as 102 S. Tejon Street, Suite 1100 (the Alamo Corporate Center) as part of what looks to be some sort of attorney clearinghouse. In addition to founding the Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council (PPRJC) with wife Lynn, he is the registered agent for a local Montessori school, a snow mobile operation near Monarch Ski Resort, Showcraft, Inc. and a lesser-known entity, Showcraft Construction.   

The first time the term “restorative justice” was explained to me, I said right away that it was just a newfangled term for “tell the nice lady how sorry you are.” I said it sounded like some rich person’s kid got into trouble with the law, and now wants to form a charitable foundation designed to help rich kids get out of jail free by having them perform a public service; something menial and beneath them, I imagine…such as rake a lawn or pick up trash…considered border-line cruel and unusual punishment, I’m sure, for the rich kids.  As I understand it, Lee’s son was a student at the Bijou Alternative School, which makes me feel even more certain about the veracity of my conclusion; and while this organization has enjoyed promotion as a worthy cause in the liberal media and news outlets, the good things they’ve all said are copied verbatim from the PPRJC website itself.

Imagine how hard it must be and unnatural it must feel for some spoiled rich kid to apologize. Heck, it must be a lot like learning a foreign language to them! The only thing this goes to show is that some wealthy kids are so clueless, it never even occurs to them to feel one way or the other about anything they say or do without receiving special training and/or tutoring.  Think, too, of their even wealthier parents studiously perusing their Restorative Justice text books: “‘Sorry’ Isn’t A Four-Letter Word”; “Apologies for Dummies”; “Well, Excuuuuuse Me: Saying ‘Sorry’ Sincerely.”

And the wealthy elitists insinuate that the poor are empty-headed? Seems to me that lack of common sense is a serious debilitation that strikes without regard to take-home pay. Heck…the District loves nothing more than throwing good money after bad: perhaps plans call for the construction of the new Mea Culpa Magnet School of Innovative Apology on the city’s northeast side.  

Come on, Santa…people actually get paid for this? People actually donate money towards this?? This is not rocket science, Santa, this is old-fashioned common sense! It's what every good boy and girl was once taught back in the days when kids still occasionally read aloud from the Bible in class, and when parents and teachers alike agreed that an appropriate response to backtalk was the expedient application of a ruler to the back of one's hand!

I'm not at all advocating abuse, Santa, you know that...but honestly: aren’t there times when your elves are misbehaving, or your reindeer are involved in noisy horseplay, and a well-placed smack on the arse is the fastest and most effective means of getting them to sit still and stop making all of that confounded racket??

Santa, these parents spared the rod; now they're surprised to find they've spoiled the child? Just an observation, but perhaps if you'd given these poor little rich kids lumps of coal long ago, they'd have learned while their butts were still protected by the padding of their diapers that actions have consequences...rather than taking expensive “say ‘sorry’ like you mean it” lessons to save their butts now!

This especially tickles me:

RJ in the Pews: Intended especially for the faith based community, the application of restorative practices and principles in the church setting will be discussed. Restorative practices have proven valuable in assisting people to build their capacity and willingness to confront the harms they have caused or experienced. Churches have been leaders in the creative and effective application of restorative principles to heal harm, makes things right, and create community.

How laughably presumptuous; the church has been teaching restorative justice a lot longer than the PPRJC's been around, that's for sure.  Ever hear of this?

"forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us"

No?  Well it's this thing called the Lord's can be found in that one book you may have heard about once or twice...the Bible.  Why do liberals always think they thought up a good idea first?  Why are they always so ready to re-invent the wheel?  Why do they approve of the church if it agrees to teach apology the restorative justice way, but reject and seek to destroy the church if it teaches apology the biblical way? Why do heathens get to have it any way they want it whenever they feel like it, Santa...or does it simply come with the territory of wavering orientations and anything-goes natures?

Why the pretense that Jan is a selfless friend of public education?

I’m sorry, Santa, but since when are lawsuits friendly?  How is someone who files suit against Colorado’s public education system considered one of its advocates?  Jan was a plaintiff in a successful anti-charter lawsuit in 2002, in which she claimed charters would deny her child educational opportunities. Santa, you know as well as I that Jan's son was poised to graduate from high school at the time…and that he was certainly afforded every educational opportunity that money can buy! I presume he’s pretty brainy as well, since he attends the Colorado School of Mines – so why did Tanner even care about charter schools that would primarily benefit struggling,low-income students??

Again, claiming that her child was unfairly denied educational opportunities, Jan’s good buddy Karen Teja actually filed a successful lawsuit against District 11 and yet still managed to sit on its Board! Does this mean that anyone wishing to become a director on the Board of Educators need simply file suit and they’re in? Because my children really are being unfairly denied educational opportunities – can’t we jump on the gravy train, too? Because Santa, as the people in the photograph below can likely attest…what’s not to like about gravy?

Tanner was Teja’s campaign managerand Teja was Tom Strand’s campaign manager; Linda Elliott was Tanner's campaign manager and *is* Pete Lee's campaign manager.  Jan Tanner and Tom Strand are both board members on Pete's PPRJC.  Santa, what are all the connections here; do the very same people who back Jan Tanner’s political aspirations also back Tom Strand and Pete Lee?  With this in mind, perhaps we should all start judging these people by the company they keep!!

Why didn't Jan disclose her contract with the district?

In light of her position as the District's legislative liaison and her expertise in policy governance®, it is reasonable to presume she was well aware of Colorado election rules and laws. She simply had to have known that her position as treasurer for her husband’s pizza enterprise and their lucrative contract with the District posed a significant conflict of interest once she became treasurer for the District. 

According to Glenn Gustafson, Tanner apparently signed some kind of disclosure statement in 2007, tacit acknowledgement that the potential for conflict exists.  But once again, apparently all of these wise guys have forgotten that a disclosure statement form can be found on and must be filed with the Secretary of State.  Or am I the only one who knows how to look up this information, Santa?  To date, Jan has yet to file any type of disclosure and/or conflict of interest statement with the Secretary of State.  When I spoke with the El Paso County District Attorney's office, Santa, I was told that such a failure to do so by an elected official is a criminal misdemeanor.

Think of how restorative justice might have benefited Charles Wingate! Or is restorative justice only for financially fortunate Caucasians? Why is everyone letting Jan slide on this; could it be the mountains of cash upon which she sits – not just her own, but that of a wealthy GLBT contingent, along with funding from the Progressive Majority?

Can Jan walk the Restorative Justice walk?

When the Board announced in February 2009 that it would close eight elementary schools around the city, I was moved to attend my very first ever Board meeting to address the seven of them.  I told them that their plan was hasty and ill-conceived, and cautioned that if they moved forward to close the schools...and particularly Adams...despite all of the public outcry and protest (not the least of which was mine)...well, I stood there and looked them in their eyes and "promised" that I would "expose" them.

I had no idea what I even meant when I uttered those words...but uttered them...and the Board yawned.  I tried to warn them, Santa, and they did it anyway.  I wonder if they ever wish now that they'd simply waited...or even reversed the decision.  As I see it, if Adams was open, I wouldn't be sitting here writing this now; and if Adams were to re-open, or STAR Academy allowed to occupy part of the Adams building...well, that too could cause Spydra to walk away from the web.

Here's one more opportunity for an out, and I announce this promise now like I announced it then - publicly:  if Jan Tanner truly believes that this - restorative justice - really matters and is of true benefit, she’ll look me right in my eight eyes and say (a bit hoarsely), “I prithee, Goody Spydra, and do beg your pardon; but please, won't you accept this trifle as a token of my contrition, for actions most unseemly?" Then, she’d unfurl the Proclamation to Re-Open Adams Elementary and sign it with a fancy feather-pen flourish...or alternatively, just hand me a check for ten percent of the $160,000 she made off the District over the 2008-2009 school year; trumpeters would herald, and with that, the slate would be clean, and bygones gone by.  

Let’s return to the ten percent restitution scenario: that would mean $16,000 - just for the 2008-2009 school year!  Do you realize what that amount of money would mean to me an my family? We could pay off all of our debt, purchase my dream car (pictured; seats six, sells for $500) – why, we could get back and forth from a job...what a luxury, especially now that they've stopped bus service for those low-income people who need a job most!  I could finally get myself a pair of prescription glasses and be able to see.  I could get the "d" key on my laptop repaired (have any of you any idea how often the letter "d" is used?!?).  I could get 2010 pages for my day planner.  I could buy my daughter a bus pass to get to and from school, since the district won't allow her to ride the bus that goes right past our house each day, and put braces on her beautiful smile… and still have enough left over for closing costs on a modest house. 

Whereas Jan probably spent $16,000 on her fingerless gloves!

Santa, restorative justice from Jan Tanner is win-win-win:
"   enabling Jan to publicly demonstrate her modern progressivism, while still upholding the venerated orthodox socialist ideal of wealth more fairly shared; 
"   providing friend Lee with another success testimonial to display on his Restorative Justice website; and, 
"   yanking my family out of poverty in a New York minute!

How and why was Jan involved in the Gay/Straight Alliance lawsuit against Palmer High School?

The earliest mention I have found of Jan and the District was her involvement in the Gay/Straight Alliance matter, which was the catalyst for all of this impossible, nonsensical “inclusion” crap in the city of Colorado Springs.  This lawsuit cost $250,000!  To paraphrase the document I reviewed regarding this matter, loosely organized student groups/clubs have always been around in the form of cliques – well, Santa...ya don't say!  Why stop there, Santa? 

Why not establish the Confuse Our Youth (C.O.Y.) Club? Christian/Satanic Co-op? Young Androgynists? How about the NAMBLA Scouts? Kommunist Kids Klub? Future Grifters of America Club? Keep 'em-Separated Society? The I-Hate-My-Parents Club? How about the Emo Cutters Club? Proud-To-Be-What’s-Wrong-With-America Club? Say No to Abstinence Club? Teen Moms Club? Middle-Class Haters Club? The Up-Is-Down Club? Children Drinking Liberally? How about the Me-Myself-And-I Club? The 2-4-Me-1-4-U Club? Just-My-Kid Club? Having-Our-Pizza-And-Eating-It-Too club? Elite-Teen Utopians? Santa, I could go on and on and on!!!

How Much Community Service is Too Much?

Tami Hasling really had a lot of nerve insinuating that Al Loma was stretching himself too thin by sitting on the STAR Academy Board coincident with his tenure on the Board of Educators; what gall to advise him to "pick one thing and do it well."  She oughtn't dish out advice she and her best friend Jan Tanner can't themselves follow!

From a CASB publication:
Jan Tanner was elected to the Colorado Springs School District 11 Board of Education in 2006 and has held the position of Board Treasurer since 2004.

·       Chairman of the Audit Advisory Committee (HAHAHAHA!)
·       Board representative to the Coalition for a Thorough and Uniform Colorado Public Education System
·       Board liaison to the Calendar Committee
·       Board liaison to the Policy Subcommittee
·       Member of the Math/Science Magnet Committee
·       Member of the Continuous Quality Improvement Team
·       Member of the Colorado PTA Board of Directors
·       Member of the Colorado PTA Legislative Committee
·       Colorado PTA Convention workshop presenter.

In addition to volunteering in her school district, she has hosted exchange students and volunteers annually with the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent.

Reason for desiring to serve on the CASB Board of Directors:

“My interest in excellent public education has led me to learn about effective school boards. School boards need to take advantage of resources available in order to govern well. We have a very valuable resource in CASB, and I want to ensure that CASB has good representation from all areas of the state, continue excellent communication with boards, and promote the association.”

WOW.  When you add sitting on CASB and the Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council and marching in the Pride Parade, it's a wonder Jan has any time to keep books for her husband's pizza monopoly!

Why long time, no see, CASB?
Santa, CASB is an organization harder to believe in than even you yourself!  They recently held what was billed as their 69th annual convention at the Broadmoor, though they didn’t organize until 1988. Questions were raised; were the decision-makers for Colorado's schools wise to hold such a holiday extravaganza, in light of the ominous predictions for our economy and rash of clumsy school closures?  CASB's president answered, assuring that the whole thing was done on the cheap...thanks to the deep discounts they enjoy as a result of their 40-year relationship with the Broadmoor Again, how is this possible, when CASB came into existence only 21 years ago?  

 According to their website, CASB provides:

Then good can CASB be?  They apparently never advised Jan that the law requires her to divulge the details of her pizza contract; all of that policy governance training must not have sunk in.  And to be very honest with you, I am troubled to think of CASB's involvement with any of the superintendent drama we've suffered over the years.  

The District already spends a goodly amount on a wide array of lawyers, law firms, legal fees and settlements; what does CASB do that's different, or substantially value-added?  What follows is the truth about Colorado School Associations, Santa...and I hardly even need to say a word:

·   Colorado Association of School Boards
·   Colorado Association of School Executives
·   Colorado Association of School Nurses
·   Colorado Association of School Business Officials
·   Colorado Association of School district Energy Managers
·   Colorado Association for School-Based Health Care
·   Colorado School Counselor Association
·   Colorado Association of School Librarians
·   Colorado Association of School Business Officers
·   Colorado School Plant Managers Association
·   Colorado Association of School Resource Managers
·   Colorado Education Association
·   Colorado Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officers
·   Colorado Association of Science Teachers
·   Colorado Association of Superintendents' Assistants

That's what came up when I performed this internet inquiry:  "colorado association of school", I'll only make token reference to these similar associations:

·   Association of Education Service Agencies
·   Cooperative Educational Services Advisory Council
·   Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies.

Okay, Santa? Mr. President, I move that this is a bunch of malarkey!!  What do ANY of these organizations get accomplished?  Be for real, Santa...aren't they all just supper clubs with fancy-sounding names for people with an all-consuming desire to belong to something...ANYTHING?  Layer upon layer of pseudo-government's truly bewildering.  This was a very clarifying exercise for me...and illustrated in vivid detail the hazardous, long-term effects of having too many student group/clubs in high school:  those silly kids eventually grow up, ya know - oftentimes into silly, self-important adults; nothing ever changes and the cycle is self-sustaining.  How very, very, very redundant...this needless, shameless, in-your-face waste.

Santa, I can see no compelling reason for the district's CASB membership - none.  One would expect to hear plenty of voices shouting to justify the $20,000 annual expense for membership and dues - certainly CASB’s former president John Gudvangen – yet there has been no response whatsoever to CASB having been called out in what seems plainly to be a lie.  

Apparently, there's some conflict within CASB about whether it's right or wrong for one of its board members to actively stump for a campaigning politician:

Election-year Politics, the Colorado Ballot, and the 2009 Legislature
(CASB) Executive Director Ken DeLay and Director of Government Relations Julie George led a discussion as to the November elections and the implications for CASB and Colorado school districts. For the record, Pam Suckla does not endorse candidates nor has she formally endorsed Jill Brake

Hrrrmmmm...well, if Suckla doesn’t – or oughtn’t  then why does Tanner? To be perfectly plain, Santa...I'm not even sure who all of these people are - but I trust none of them due to their association with Tanner; any person affiliated with Tanner or Lee is immediately suspect.

Why does Jan pretend to be a commoner?

Don't be fooled by her frequent frumpiness, Santa - Mrs. Tanner is not your ordinary Colorado Springs soccer mom, and hers is no mom-n-pop pizza shoppe.  Her husband owns or has an interest in most of the Domino’s Pizzas in Southern Colorado...and that's A LOT of dough, inflated or otherwise! What about her enviro-car…it looks hella expensive...and must feel something like driving an electric green spaceship to and from all of her volunteer gigs! 

To be perfectly plain, I think Jan’s slummin’ it here in her $200,000 Colorado home. Tell the truth, Santa: Jan’s middle name is Cash, isn't it?  Behind closed doors, she picks cheese from her teeth using toothpicks made of tightly-rolled $20s, doesn't she; indeed, I’m surprised we haven’t seen her leave the ladies room with a hundred dollar bill stuck to the bottom of her shoe!  Santa, does Jan use money for toilet paper, Santa, because WE JUST RAN OUT!

(Note:  Under separate cover, I'll provide you with a short segment that'll help you understand all the reasons why I believe these things, Santa.)

Why drink liberally – ever?

Santa, I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I have a special aversion for alcohol. As a member of the Drinking Liberally club, Jan doesn’t; anI’ve heard that Sandra Mann doesn’t either. Might these two have formed an alliance based upon mutual interests? Are Long Islands the reason for Mann’s weaving back and forth across her Republican party lines, and why she nominated Tanner for Vice President of the Board?

Conveniently absent in situations requiring a 2/3 majority vote, and vaguely reminiscent of yesterday’s teletype machine, Mann has proven herself to be a reliable – if somewhat ethereal – district talking head. At times, I can see that she really is trying hard to act natural…but she’s positively transparent, and it always seems like she might start laughing after she finishes reading her script. Tanner should give her some acting pointers.


I really like the way Craig Cox explains the involvement of John and Linda Elliott. Lots of excellent questions raised, and none answered.

What fashion statement is Jan trying to make?

Santa, one would think Jan had enough money to buy herself an iota of style and a smidgen of taste - please to explain the awful "pizza blouse" she wore to November 30, 2009 Board meeting where she said goodbye to her compadres Tami and John, and hello to LuAnn and Al?  I TOLD YOU IT LOOKED LIKE SHE DROPPED AN ENTIRE PIZZA PIE ON THE FRONT OF HER BLOUSE - WAS I LYING??

Further, Santa, is Out the new In? Or is Jan sporting interplanetary fashions from the future? What happened to the fingers of her gloves – did they run back to their home in 1980? Is she a cougar trendsetta ala Madonna and Posh Spice? Or are her fingerless gloves utilitarian, allowing her to keep counting all that money and still keep her hands warm?

For Pete’s sake, Santa – Jan’s in her mid-fifties; does she also wear Jelly bracelets and ponytail hair ties? What if she starts wearing her underpanties on the outside of her slacks...or, Heaven forbid, borrows the Emperor’s new clothes? Santa, I’m scared - please help prepare me for the preposterous!

What’s in it for Jan?
I guess, Santa, I'd just like to know what’s really in it for Jan? Her kid’s been out of school for the better half of a decade; further, it appears Ben Tanner is an only-child – which is not a slam against only-children, because my husband is an only-child, nor is it a slam on their parents…but unlike me, Santa, Jan’s keen interest in public education isn’t motivated by the needs of her child(ren), nor, apparently, by the needs of my children. Why does any of this even matter to a rich empty nester who graduated from high school 40 years ago?

So, Santa, what then is Jan’s motivation? It can’t be ordinary altruism - you must already know this, as you’re practically Altruism’s patron saint. But consider the difference between your own volunteerism and Jan’s; look at how hardyou work, to give back so much! In stark contrast, Santa…what actual work does Jan do, really? Indeed, it’s hardly working…and her oodles of “public service” seem only for her own gain and that of her elitist comrades and/or partners in running.  

Other than money, what justifies Tanner’s elitism?

You know, Santa...I used to run; so what?  Do these people think they're better than the rest of us because their calves are toned?  What makes Jan think she’s so good? What justifies her nonchalant elitism? Is it her rote memorization and fast talkin’ recitation skills? Her portfolio and pedigree…or just her perky personality and pepperoni pizza combo? Is Jan really a nice girl, Santa? Because I get the impression that she’s decidedly more of the haughty naughty sort; why do you keep rewarding her, when what she really deserves are two lumps of coal? Granted, you know if she’s been sleeping, you know if she’s awake; but would you know if she was secretly padding her bras with cash?

Hmmm…Introducing, The Inflated Dough MoollahBra© - guaranteed to add a full cup size and change your tax bracket, or your money back.

Santa, I realize that I probably sound envious; I am. Jan has so much, and I have so little. I will work on my covetousness. But I still feel that Jan’s mean, and the Queen of Green. You know…my husband made the astute observation that plants are “green” – tell the truth, Santa…is Jan Tanner some kind of a progressive plant? Aren’t they also called noxious weeds?

Who does Jan Tanner think she is? More importantly, who is Jan Tanner?

My final questions, Santa:

  • Why does Charlie Bobbitt seem to have more integrity in his little finger than the rest of the D11 school board does collectively?
  • Why have we as taxpayers become so complacently credulous, and willing to accept such obnoxiousness and mendacity from our elected officials?
  • When did America lose its outrage?
  • Is a mind still a terrible thing to waste?
  • Is gay really the new black? 
  • Do you like the way Adam Lambert sings? 
  • When did the Springs go from being Intolerant Colorado to the Rocky Mountain Gay Escape?
  • When did Socialists become Progressives?
  • How did commie become cool?
  • When will Christianity officially become criminal?
  • Will humans worship lightning once they digi-volve into Transformers?
  • Will going to hell in a hand basket hurt?
  • Will Jan also go to hell via hand basket, or does she get to take the family yacht?
  • You know how "dog" is "God" spelled backwards?  Does it ever bother you that the names “Santa” and “Satan” are so similar? 

Santa, when I say I’m doing something “for the kids” I don’t mean taking the ones I found wandering lost in the forest, putting them in a cage inside my gingerbread house, and fattening them up on pizza; you and I both know that good people do not feed off of children. A complete answer to these questions is all I want. I hope you will bear these things in mind, and be more fair next year in determining who's been naughty and who's been nice!

Sorry this is such a long letter, Santa. Thank you in advance for your time and attention to…and my best regards to your two loyal elves Rastus and Manuel.

Your friend,